Last minute announcements for SAAHE 2014

Well, we’re almost ready to kick off (sorry, couldn’t resist) with SAAHE 2014 and so I thought I’d take the opportunity to update you on a few last minute items before we start.

The abstract book is now available for download. If you have registered for the conference, you should receive this by email. Please note that we will only have a limited number of printed copies of the abstract book at the venue, so if you do not receive the book by email in the next few hours, you should either download it here or view it through the conference app.

Abstract book.

If you have not yet downloaded the conference programme, you can do so here. Note that the programme and abstract book are both available in the conference app, which you can install by searching for “saahe” in either the App store on iOS or Play store on Android. If you are viewing this page from your mobile device, clicking on the previous links will take you straight to the entry in the store). There is a lot of content available in the book, so we encourage you to use the bookmarking feature (see below), which allows you to bookmark abstracts that look interesting, and to which you might want to return. Touching the page number in the Bookmark menu – after pressing Edit – allows you to rename bookmarks so that they are relevant to you.


If you are unable to come to this year’s conference, we encourage you to follow events on Twitter, using the #saahe2014 hashtag. You can also see the live stream of tweets from within the conference app.


Finally, we’ve just found out that the hotel is giving us free, uncapped wifi for all delegates during the conference, so we’re also pretty excited about that.

And that’s it. If you’re traveling from far away (actually, if you’re traveling from anywhere) we wish you a safe journey and are looking forward to welcoming you in Cape Town for the 7th National SAAHE conference.

Mobile app for the SAAHE 2014 conference

We’re very happy to announce that the conference app is live in both the App and Play stores, and is available for download. You can search for the app in either store using “saahe” and install from there. If you’re reading this page on your mobile device, you can use the links below to install the app:

app store
What you should see after searching the App store for “saahe”.

Once you’ve downloaded the app and opened it, you will find yourself in the “Store”, which is simply the list of available content. You will need to be online in order for the content items to display when looking at the Store. Selecting an item shows a description of the document and enables you to download it (see below). Once documents have been downloaded, they appear in your Library. Once content has been downloaded to the library it will be available when you’re offline. Note that not all content is currently available. For example, the abstract book is undergoing final preparations and will be added as soon as possible. It will appear in the Store as soon as it is ready to be published.

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When you know exactly what (or who) you’re looking for, remember that each document is searchable, which means a lot of saved time when it comes to finding the presentation (or topic) you need.

Searching for "reflection" in the programme. Clicking on results will take you to that page.
Searching for “reflection” in the programme. Clicking on results will take you to that page.


We should emphasise that, while the app can be installed and used on mobile phones, the user experience is poor because of the small font size. This is particularly noticeable when viewing the programme. We therefore recommend that you install the app on a tablet instead. Alternatively, you can also view the available content through your desktop or laptop browser, at

Conference content is available through the browser, as well as through the app.
Conference content is available through the browser, as well as through the app.

The conference app is brought to you by Snapplify, who have been great in terms of helping us to set up the platform and providing a really high level of service. They will have an exhibit at the conference and will be happy to discuss any mobile publishing ideas you may have.

Winner of the SAAHE Distinguished Educator award


It is with great pleasure that SAAHE congratulates Professor Ian Couper as the winner of the 2014 SAAHE Distinguished Educator award. In recognition of his tireless efforts and significant contribution to health professions education in South Africa and abroad, Professor Couper is invited to present a special address at the 2014 SAAHE conference.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Julia Blitz and Abigail Dreyer for nominating Prof. Couper, and for writing the text for this post.

Professor Ian Couper - SAAHE Dinstinguished Educator for 2014.
Professor Ian Couper – SAAHE Dinstinguished Educator for 2014.

Ian Couper, Professor and Director of the Centre for Rural Health at the University of the Witwatersrand has long been seen as a maverick. He started contributing to a community of practice in 1988 when he completed his internship at Livingstone Hospital. His service as a doctor extended to Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Paraguay, South America, and Boksburg-Benoni Hospital. His time spent at Manguzi Hospital in Northern KwaZulu-Natal demonstrated his commitment to rural health care where he inspired and supported many others working at this facility to improve community health and where he engaged directly in primary health care planning. During this time he also became involved as a part-time lecturer in the distance-based Masters in Family Medicine programme of Medunsa, a programme that produced many leaders in both family medicine and health professions education in South Africa, subsequently moving to work as a joint appointee of Medunsa and the North West Province. From July 2002, Ian has been at the Centre for Rural Health at Wits and Principal Specialist for Rural Medicine in the North West Province. His work has been acknowledged in the form of significant awards that have demonstrated his individual achievements but also the achievements of the team he leads.

In 2003, the team established a scholarship scheme, the Wits Initiative for Rural Health Education (WIRHE), for disadvantaged rural students who want to become health professionals, in partnership with the North West provincial department of health. Students are linked to their local district facilities, working there during their vacations, are supported and mentored during their training, and are required to work back in their districts on completion of their studies. By the end of 2012, there were 33 graduates already serving their communities, or completing internships prior to undertaking this service, and 57 students being supported across 7 health science programs. In 2007, the Vice-Chancellor’s Team Award for Academic Citizenship was received from University of the Witwatersrand for this programme. In 2008, he received an Honorary chieftainship awarded by the Okoyong Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs in Nigeria, for his role in supporting Calibre to host the 8 th WONCA World Rural health conference as well as his ongoing contribution to rural health care internationally.

In 2008, the Vice-Chancellor’s Team Teaching Award was received for the Integrated Primary Care block at Wits. The Integrated Primary Care (IPC) rotation is a unique 6-week clerkship for final year medical students, which integrates the learning from all other disciplines at primary care level, in rural and underserved sites, with a focus on the management of patient problems rather than disease, in the context of understanding and seeking to improve health systems and the health of communities. Seven departments in the faculty work together to deliver this program, under his leadership. With this support, the IPC rotation has been adapted and is being used in district-based medical student rotations in two other countries in the region, at the University of Malawi College of Medicine and the Universidade Catolica de Mozambique in Beira. The IPC rotation continues to be innovative, constantly experimenting with new approaches to learning for and assessment of medical students.

In 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s Team Award for Academic Citizenship was received by the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP). In cooperation with the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) and the AIDS Law Project, the Centre for Rural Health has launched an Advocacy Project. The aim of the project is to address specific identified high priority issues in rural health in South Africa by systematically bringing them to the attention of relevant stakeholders in order to achieve measurable improvements in rural health services. This is done through providing a voice for rural health care workers and patients, Rural-Proofing Policies, examining the financing of health care, addressing the Human Resource needs of rural communities, and monitoring the implementation of policies. In addition to chairing the steering committee, Ian’s particular contributions are in the areas of human resource development and research.

Ian was involved nationally in developing the curriculum framework for the Clinical Associates (midlevel medical workers), launched in 2009. This involves students becoming involved in patient care at district hospital level from early in their first year and integrating theoretical input (including basic sciences) around patient problems, with a single integrated course being delivered per year. Ian led the development of the Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice (BCMP) degree at University of Witwatersrand with the team of staff who received the Vice-Chancellor’s Team Teaching Award in 2013. The curriculum objectives are structured around the needs of district hospitals, based on a national collaboration. The programme places medical and clinical associate students in remote and rural areas, where they are supported by a network of local generalist medical and nurse practitioners. In one of these sites, Lehurutshe Community Hospital, the team has established a district training centre, in collaboration with the North West provincial department of health, where students from a range of programs – medical, clinical associate, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dentistry – are accommodated and can learn together. This model is being rolled out to other districts.

Ian initiated the adaptation and roll out of two educational programmes for practising rural doctors in South Africa, viz. a neonatal resuscitation training program and the Basic Emergency Skills Training (BEST) program, in collaboration with Australian and local colleagues. Both followed a training-the-trainers model by identifying and equipping locally based trainers who have continued to provide the training to doctors and nurses in their districts, with minimal fees involved. This demonstrates his Midas-touch when it comes to the teaching, development of teaching expertise, the innovative educational processes and the development of excellent educators in the team. Ian has been a visiting professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, and an adjunct faculty member of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He has been invited to conducted evaluations of educational programmes at Flinders University (2006) and at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Canada (2008). He is a founding member of the Collaboration for Health Equity through Education and Research (CHEER),which has advanced the cause of education for equity in health care in South Africa and developed a peer review approach to cross-institutional learning and development.

Recently he was one of only seven recipients of an international Special Award for Outstanding Health Professional Educators, presented by the annual Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2014, in Pattaya, Thailand. Upon receiving this Award Ian was quoted as saying: “The Centre for Rural Health is seeking to develop and nurture STAR health workers in rural areas, through Service support, Training, Advocacy and Research in rural health care, thus impacting on the health of rural people. I could not have done it without the team and the award is a reflection on the people I am privileged to work with!”

Ian has helped to develop the field of medical education by advancing and delivering on the concepts of community based medical education, service learning, and aligning the curriculum and schools’ programs with priority health needs in South Africa, particularly rural areas. Recently he was approached by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University to develop a blueprint for the creation of a new medical school which would deliver on these fundamental concepts, and is part of a team developing a plan for a health professions school in the North West province on behalf of the provincial Department of Health. He is a member of the editorial team that, over the last 5 years, has developed an international Guidebook on Rural Medical Education, with 71 chapters written by 74 volunteer authors (including himself), which launched this month (April 2014) as a free, open access, online educational resource.

He currently serves on 5 different faculty committees at the university and contributes to the leadership on these committees with tireless engagement. He has a record of 66 publications, membership of 5 professional organisations, and has delivered over 50 presentations at local and international conference in the last three years, many of these as an invited keynote speaker. The projects and awards received demonstrate Ian Couper’s leadership impact and his contribution to teaching and administration of the discipline of health science education in South Africa. It is the teaching he does in the classroom, the field, the boardroom and the office that really warrants him receiving this award.


Update – 2014 SAAHE conference in Cape Town

I thought I’d write a little progress update on the SAAHE conference, just in case you’re considering registering but hadn’t made up your mind. If you’ve been following on the mailing list, then there’s probably nothing new here for you.

The SAAHE conference is perhaps the largest annual gathering of health professions educators on the continent, represented by academics, researchers and clinicians from many of the higher education institutions in the country. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share insights, research findings and experiences with colleagues who are passionate about teaching and learning in the context of health care.

We’re really excited to announce that our mobile app is coming along nicely. This is the first year that we’re actively promoting the use of mobile devices for our delegates to keep up-to-date with the conference proceedings. The app runs on all mobile devices, as well desktop and laptop machines, so no-one is left out. It’s not quite ready to be published yet, but here’s a sneak peak.

Mobile conference app running on an iPad.
Mobile conference app running on an iPad.

We’re also really pleased that, for the first time in SAAHE’s history, we are having a South African keynote speaker along with our international speakers. Steve Reid joins Debbie Murdoch-Eaton and Jason Frank, along with the winner of the SAAHE Distinguished Educator award (still be announced), in the lineup of keynote presenters.

This year the conference will be held off campus at the DoubleTree Hotel, due to planned renovations that would make hosting on site logistically complicated. The hotel is a great venue, conveniently located near the city and also able to provide accommodation to out of town delegates.

Entrance lobby at the DoubleTree Hotel.
Entrance lobby at the DoubleTree Hotel.

If you are interested in attending the SAAHE conference, please visit our information page, or contact the conference manager, Debbie Rorich, for additional details. We look forward to seeing you at the 2014 SAAHE conference in Cape Town.

New National Executive elected

Dear SAAHE Members

It is a singular pleasure for me to announce the newly elected National Executive for SAAHE.

  • National Chairperson:   Gert van Zyl (Central)
  • National Secretary:         Hesta Friedrich-Nel (Central)
  • National Treasurer:        Veena Singaram (KZN)

These elections were managed by a former councillor, Professor Trish McInerney, from Wits in an independent process. This process is the first time the elections were conducted with all regional representatives on council equally eligible to stand for these offices. A formal amendment will be tabled at the AGM during conference later this year. We had approved this process at the previous National Council meeting following the discussions held at the meeting during SAAHE conference in Durban 2013.

The remainder of the National Council, some of whom have been newly confirmed, is made up as follows:

  • Central                                Alwyn Hugo (Free State; additional delegate)
  • Eastern Cape                    Prof R.D. Walker (Rhodes), Prof Ilse Truter (NMMU)
  • KwaZuluNatal                  Fraasia Oosthuizen (UKZN)
  • Northern                            Ruan Kruger (NWU), Lionel Green-Thompson (Wits)
  • Western Cape                  Elize Archer (Stellenbosch), Francois Cilliers (UCT; additional delegate), Michael Rowe (UWC)

Hearty congratulations to the three newly elected National executive members! I have no doubt that your willingness to serve this growing education community will breathe fresh vigour into both SAAHE as an organisation and to the growing community of practice of health science educators.

Many thanks also to those who served on the outgoing executive: Professors Di Manning  (Pretoria) and Trish Mc Inerney (Wits) and Mr Chris Stein (University of Johannesburg).

May our SAAHE grow from strength to strength.

Kind regards,

SAAHE Distinguished Educator and Research awards

Update: The deadline for nominations has been extended to 11th March. Please ensure that your nominations are submitted by midnight.

The annual SAAHE distinguished educator award recognises an academic in health science education who has made a significant contribution either in teaching in the health sciences or who has contributed to the development of scholarship in the discipline of health science education. The award seeks to recognise excellence at a national level and to create awareness of what constitutes excellence in health science education.

It’s that time of year again when we are accepting nominations for the SAAHE Distinguished Educator and Research awards. Please download a nomination form below and let us know who you think is most deserving of this recognition.

The closing date for nominations is the 31st March, 2014 and winners will be announced at the 2014 conference. Please submit completed nomination forms to Michael Rowe (

Click on the links below to download the relevant forms:


2014 conference venue and accommodation

We were disappointed to find out that the only venue on campus that could accommodate the number of delegates expected at SAAHE would be closed for renovation during June. However, we were lucky enough to book a great venue with accommodation included, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Woodstock.

Hotel Lobby

Twin Deluxe Room

The DoubleTree Hotel is conveniently located near the city, with easy access to many attractions that you might want to visit when not participating in conference activities.

Please contact Debbie Rorich for additional information about the venue.

SAAHE 2014 Conference announcement


26-28 June

The theme for the 2014 conference is convergence><divergence, which we hope will stimulate delegates to explore the points of connection and departure from traditional health professionals education, as well as to develop collaborative partnerships that are cognisant of diversity.

The 2014 SAAHE conference is being hosted by the University of the Western Cape, in collaboration with CPT, UCT and Stellenbosch. For more information, go to

Important dates:

  • 24 October, 2013: First call for workshop proposals
  • 6 December, 2013: Deadline for workshop proposals
  • 30 December, 2013: Notification of workshop acceptance

For addtional details, please contanct Dr. Michael Rowe (, Chairperson of the 2014 Organising Committee.